To officially open its annual Christmas celebration, “Paskua Mi Ditoy,” the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte will hold the Capitol light-up at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
“Paskua Mi Ditoy” is an Ilocano phrase that can be translated into “Our Christmas Here.” The Ilocos Norte Tourism Office launched it as the province’s Christmas tourism brand in 2011, and is a monthlong celebration underscoring customs and traditions of Ilocanos.
Last year, the provincial government illuminated a 45-foot Christmas tree in front of the Capitol, accompanied by an Ilocano belen (outdoor nativity scene) backed by vibrant lights.
The display featured “a very Filipino Christmas,” Ilocos Norte Tourism Officer Aianree B. Raquel said. It showcased indigenous materials aiming to bring back Ilocanos to the meaning of Christmas and to uphold faith and resiliency as cultural values.
“Paskua Mi Ditoy” is also highlighted by the Solid North Tupig Cook-Off, now on its sixth year, on Friday in the town of Dingras.
Conceptualized in 2010, the onset of Gov. Imee R. Marcos’ administration, the event is a highlight of Ilocos Norte’s Christmas celebration. Excluding the year 2013, the cook-off has been held annually to bolster the market for tupig, Ilocandia’s famous Christmas rice cake, and to preserve this cultural heritage.
In 2015, the contest was held at the San Agustin Church Complex in Paoay, featured three categories: non-professional and school, professional, and local government unit. The Divine Word College of Laoag, Marie Joy Sarrat Tupig Pride, and Laoag City bagged first place in their respective categories.
The cook-off also encourages the innovation of traditional cuisine, with contingents deviating from the usual lineup of tupig ingredients and using roasted peanuts, cheese, langka (jackfruit), and even gamet (Ilocos black seaweed) in their creations.